My 1922 Sarnia cookbook culinary adventure continues with another delectable installment! Today’s recipe hits close to home because my grandmother was Norwegian. And while I didn’t see her very often (she lived in Saskatoon), she taught me important lessons about food. Namely, that Norwegians eat some pretty gross stuff.
For example, pig’s feet. She came to visit one Christmas and my dad made them. Do you know what it’s like lifting the lid off a pot and finding hooves simmering in water? Not to mention the smell. My grandmother also enjoyed blood pudding, which I managed to avoid.
I don’t know if she ever made Norwegian Bread Pudding, but it sounds a lot tastier than blood pudding. That’s not saying much. This delicacy is made with whipped cream and rye bread. I’m sorry, Norway, but time to give yourself a long, hard look in the mirror.
Here’s the recipe:
Crumble Rye Bread, rather like popcorn), sprinkle the bread with enough sugar to sweeten. Put the bread in a flat dish in oven for 10 minutes to get a little brittle. Then set outside to get very cold. Whip 1-2 pint cream and add to it flavouring and beaten whites of 1 egg. Chill. Then add alternately layers of bread and cream with cream on top.
I bought this rye loaf because it was Swedish style. I’m pretty sure Sweden is close to Norway. The recipe calls for uncooked egg whites and that made me nervous. I’m always fearful that raw eggs are going to give me diarrhea. Funny how I never have that fear when I’m faced with a bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough.
Here's an ad from the cookbook. I guess the Astoria Inn specializes in well-cooked food as opposed to half-cooked food. I called to make dinner reservations but no one answered. That's not courteous service, IMHO.
I sprinkled about two teaspoons of sugar over the bread cubes and baked them at 350. When it came to whipping the eggs whites, I was more than a little paranoid, given the apparition that appeared in my last recipe. So imagine my horror when I saw this staring back at me.
That's a freaking skull! Was my grandmother warning me about the egg whites?
I wasn’t sure what kind of bowl to put the Norwegian Bread Pudding in, but since it said to layer things, I opted for a trifle dish. My calculations were off because the dish was too big. Or the pudding was too little. At least the mint leaves added some height.
As to how it tasted, well, sometimes you get a rye bread cube with some sugar and you think, “Hey, that’s not bad.” And sometimes, you get a rye bread cube with no sugar and you think, “WTF, Norway?” But I will say this: it tasted a lot better than the smell of boiling pig’s feet.
As far as the raw egg whites, I’m happy to report that nothing happened. In fact, I’ve just enjoyed another helping of Norwegian Bread Pudding and can confidently say that the skull in the egg whites was nothing more than – uh, excuse me for a minute.
Until I return, here's a photo of me and my Norwegian grandmother the Christmas she visited and made our house smell like pig's feet. In case there are any doubts, yep, I was pretty gay back then, too.
Score: Three pig's feet out of ten.